Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his war-torn country deserved to start European Union accession talks 'this year', CNN reported.
Zelenskyy said he had reached an important mutual understanding with EU President Ursula von der Leyen regarding Ukraine's bid for accession into the European Union.
Zelensky said he had productive talks with the commission leader, and members of the College of the European Commission and this showed that all parties understood "the fact that Ukraine needs constant and full support in defense against Russia," the Ukrainian president said in his evening address Thursday.
"And about the fact that our further integration should give energy and motivation to our people to fight despite any obstacles and threats. I believe that Ukraine deserves to start negotiations on EU membership already this year," CNN quoted him as saying.
Zelensky thanked EU Chief and her colleagues in the EU for the military, financial, and social support of Ukraine 'on the path of integration'.
Ukraine is all set to host the 24th EU-Ukraine Summit on Friday where Charles Michel, President of the European Council, and Ursula von der Leyen will meet with Zelenskyy, as per the EU's statement.
This is the first EU-Ukraine summit since the start of the Russian aggression, and also since the European Council granted Ukraine the status of candidate country. In this, the leaders will discuss, Ukraine's European path and the accession process, the EU's response to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Ukraine's initiatives for just peace and accountability, cooperation on issues of reconstruction and relief and in the areas of energy and connectivity, and global food security.
The leaders are expected to issue a joint statement at the end of the summit, as per CNN.
Earlier, in January, Zelenskyy held talks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Taking to his official Twitter handle, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to Leyen for European Union's support.
Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is waiting for the first tranche of macro-finance aid in January. He tweeted, "Glad to start the year talking to @vonderleyen. Thanked for the EU support. Waiting for the 1st tranche of macro-fin aid in Jan, the 1st batch of LED lamps, school buses, generators & modular houses. Coordinated steps on Ukraine European Union Summit. We feel supported & will win together."
Ursula von der Leyen assured Volodymyr Zelenskyy that European Union continues to stand with Ukraine. She stated that European Union will support Ukraine's 'heroic struggle' and fight for freedom against the offensive. In a tweet, Leyen said that the EU is supporting Ukraine with generators, light bulbs, shelters, and school buses.
Ursula von der Leyen tweeted, "In the 1st call of the new year with President @ZelenskyyUa, I conveyed my wholehearted support and best wishes for 2023 to the Ukrainian people. The EU stands by you, for as long as it takes. We support your heroic struggle. A fight for freedom and against brutal aggression." (ANI)